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10 Things You Should Know

Read this page for important information to help process your claim without delay, then follow the link below to file a claim.

10 things you should know before you apply for benefits:

Failure to provide all the requested information means your claim will have to be manually reviewed and corrected by IDES staff. If IDES is unable to make the corrections, prior to when you certify (request payment), your benefits will be delayed or the amount you receive will be less than it should be.

  1. Accurately report the reason you are unemployed
    Accurately report your reason for separation from your job when you initially file your claim for benefits.

  2. Report any wages earned and list all your employers from the last 18 months.
    You must report your gross wages for each week you work. Report all earnings, including part-time or temporary work. You must report all employers you worked for in the last 18 months. If an employer name is unfamiliar, please review your check stub or W2 to confirm the employer name reported on your claim application before reporting you did not work for that employer. If you worked in another state, make sure you tell us what state you worked in.

  3. Be available for work
    You must be available for work each week or benefits may be denied. See FAQs to understand what this means to you.

  4. Actively search for work
    You must search for work each week or benefits may be denied. See FAQs to understand what this means to you.

  5. Develop and document an effective work search plan
    An organized and documented job search improves your chances of employment. All claimants are required by law to document work search activities.

  6. Use to search for a job is IDES's online database that helps connect job seekers to employers in Illinois.

  7. Do not pay an agent to file your claim
    The use of paid third-parties to file your claim and/or communicate with IDES is very risky and discouraged. Do not share your personal information with anyone.

  8. Do not commit fraud
    Follow the rules to prevent yourself from committing fraud. Failure to follow legal requirements has serious consequences.

  9. Know your responsibilities and ask for help
    If you have questions, please call (800) 244-5631. In advance, we thank you for your patience and understanding as we experience an extremely high call volume. To quickly find answers to your unemployment insurance questions, visit Frequently Asked Questions.

  10. Don't delay: as soon as you begin working again, report your return to work.
    Notify IDES as soon as you begin working. Avoid committing fraud; do not wait until you receive your first paycheck.

Note: Any information submitted by you to IDES may be verified through computer matching programs in order to determine your eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits.​

Payment Methods

Unemployment insurance benefits are paid either via debit card or direct deposit. IDES recommends claimants use direct deposit as the fastest and most convenient method.

Before applying for benefits, you must read the Debit Card Information documents with information regarding terms, conditions, and fees associated with the debit card. 

File A Claim

By clicking the File an Unemployment Insurance Claim button below, I attest that I have followed this link and read the information regarding terms, conditions, and fees associated with the debit card. I understand that I may select direct deposit as an alternative payment method. I will be taken to the Illinois Benefits Information System (IBIS) system, where I can set up an account to apply for and manage my claim.